History is not so faraway?--trip to the Berlin wall


I visited the “the Berlin wall” last week.
There, I strongly felt the familiarity with the “history”.
When I was in high-school, I didn’t like history class (I liked the teacher though)and I was pretty bad at that. “History” always sounded boring for me and it looked faraway thing.

Here’re the three things I felt during my visit to the Berlin wall.

1, History is made by “human” like us.
The fall of the wall of the Berlin was accidentally happened by one politician’s mistake.
It split west part of Berlin and east Berlin for more than 20yrs.
If the people from East Germany try to cross the wall, they are killed by the guard.
On 9 November 1989, the government of East Germany made a new policy which make easier for East Germans to travel abroad which was not included the Berlin wall.
However Günter Schabowski, the politician who was in charge of announcing this didn’t have enough time to understand this fully.
After some questions from journalists he confirmed that the regulations included the border crossings towards West Berlin, which was not mentioned in that regulation until then.

After this announcement, bunch of people headed for the wall and started braking the wall.
Since there were too many people, the guard couldn’t stop it and eventually joined braking the wall. This is how the “fall of the Berlin wall”, one of the most important incident in the world happened.

What I want to say is this; one of the most important incident in the world was happened accidentally by just one person’s mistake. Mistake, the thing we also do in my daily life.

When I learned history in school, the people who appeared on the history book looked very different from me. The way of thinking seemed also different. Of course I knew they were same human, but for me they looked like completely different creatures.
It may sound a bit stupid, but he was also a “human” like me. He was not only a person on the history book, but real, alive person!

When I get this idea, I felt more familiar with “History”. It was really, made by humans.

2, “Now” become “History”
What we are doing now, is current thing but in the next moment it becomes “Past” and “History” is the accumulation of the “Past”. What I am doing now also become history for myself in the next moment.

When I think about “History”, I always, unconsciously, separated it from “Now”. But it is actually connected. “Past”, “Now” and “Future” is on one line.

3, People changed in “only” 80 years?
80 years ago, as you know, Hitler was doing nauseating things. And his madness influenced whole country and many German people. When Hitler came to power, people became enthusiastic, as if they had been hypnotized.

I used to live in Germany for 2 years when I was young, and had really great time there. Therefore I like Germany as a country, and I also like people there.
But when I consider these thing happened 80 years ago, the image I get for the people there does not fit to the image I have now.
Did they change? But it’s “only” 80 years ago. Do people change in such a quite short period?
I like people in Germany and I think it never change. I am just curious.

Also, “only” 80 years ago, Japan was in the WW2 and the country was using all the resource to the war. And what people were thinking about at that time were how to beat other countries and win the war. Literally almost all nations were heading for war.
But now, not. I believe most people in Japan(not only Japanese for sure) do not want to do war. (Maybe some people want, because it is actually profitable)
The way of thinking or value is so different from what we Japanese(at least young people) think now. But still, the people who lived 80 years ago and who are living now is same “Japanese”.
I think I should keep thinking about these things.


These were the things I felt during my visit to Berlin.
It was good that I could feel the familiarity with “History” and got interest at least a bit.
Also I strongly felt my lack of knowledge about history, and have to study more.

16:31 | In English | comments (0) | trackbacks (0) | edit | page top↑

Why Australian finish work 5pm, while Japanese work till 1AM?

Apu, the Workaholic

This is the topic I was considering a lot since I came to Australia.
In my point of view, Australian’s working condition is sooo relaxed.

The fact
In Japan, it is common to work till 9-10pm, and even work till 1AM is not unusual thing. However, here in Australia, according to Australian people, people go back home 6pm or something, which is pretty common in Australia.

For sure it depends on the kinds of job, and I do not know the exact average working time, but Japanese people definitely work much longer than Australian people.
Also, because of the strict government law, I heard usually people can get 4 weeks break every year!
That’s amazing considering the situation in Japan, where people envy you if you can get 2weeks, or even a week of break.

In addition to that, even the working time here is much shorter in Japan, people salary standards maybe higher than Japan.

One of my friends who is working in consulting company in Australia, told me that he works about 7 hours every day and it’s flexible. It means, if he starts his job at 9AM, he can leave around 5PM, and he can even go to work around 11am and leave at 7pm.
In addition, he can get at least 4 weeks break every year.
And the salary he get is equivalent to the amount of the salary of consultant in same age in Japan, or even much higher!

So why is it possible?
There are three possibilities that I thought.

One is that the working efficiency is lower in Japan. People in Japan may be less concentrating on the work because for them is normal to work till late and they lack the mind of deadline.
That may be true, but I do not think Australian people is much smarter or much more efficient than in Japan.

Second one is that this is because of the difference of the recruiting system.
As I mentioned at the other article, Japanese company see the potential of candidates, rather than the current ability or skills of candidates. If they are puttng effort and time on education of them after they enter to company, that somehow makes sense that they have to work harder. But it does not make sense that also the eldery people who should have learned a lot work till late.

Third possibility is because of the culture.
Since it is common to work tll late!
If phenomenon is common for the society, company, employer, enployee and their families accept that and regard as normal.
If it is normal, company has no strong incentives to change the system, and the employee also do not have strong motivation to try to be very efficient so that they can finish their work earlier.

I don't really know why is it like that. Maybe many factors are combined.
But anyway, it is interesting to see the difference of culture :P
16:32 | In English | comments (5) | trackbacks (0) | edit | page top↑

Uni in Japan,"summer vacation in life". So what is "learning"?


As I mentioned at previous article, in Japan some people say the days in University is the summer vacation of you life.
Many students skip their class and use their time and energy toward part-time job, club activities, or just have fun.

Well, obviously, it seems the waste of intelligence.
In Japan, students study pretty hard until they get in to uni. When I was in high school, especially last year of that, I was studying 12-15 hours every day (btw, Korean high students seems to study harder than that).
So some say the freshman of University of Tokyo or Kyoto University (Technically 1st and 2nd ones in Japan), is much smarter than freshman in Harvard (it depends on how you define the word “smart” though).

But I would also say, Japanese universities allow us to “learn” in various way.
So what is “learning"?

At first, of course, it is the stuff in Uni. People learn more deeper, or broader things in uni.
But you can also learn many things out of Uni.
For example, part-time job, club activities, trip to overseas etc.
Since in Japan, the Universities do not necessarily require us to engage in classes a lot, we have plenty of time to use for these things.
Personally, I haven’t study so hard in my 2 years stay in Kyoto University.
Instead, for example as the member of international non-profit organization, I could get various experiences. Sales to companies, international conference, internship in Africa and so on. Also, I could visit over 20 countries/ 5continents in 2 years.
I think these were possible because of the system of uni in Japan.
They give us time and credit, so you can do what you want.
You may be able to graduate, even you just party for 4 years.

Obviously, some students who used to be smart when they get in, become shit.
But on the other hand, if you have something you want to do, or if you are aggressive enough, you can just do that, following to your mind.

When I visited a Ivy League school in US, I was very impressed that students were studying so hard. Then one of the students told me many students study hard just for getting good GPA, in order to get in to big firms. And she also said, once they fail the competition of GPA, they loose their eagerness for studying and stop studying. This is just an example and I think many students are studying hard because they want to study but anyway, this is really sad thing.

I don’t want to say the things out of uni are much more important, or what I have done for 2years was completely right. Learning and studying hard at uni is definitely important (that’s why I decided to go for exchange study).

However, I think learning is not limited to what you do on desk, and you can learn from various things.
In this sense, Japanese system may not be so bad.
Personally, I could pursue “learning” in various way thanks to this system.

Just one opinion about the different system, and the way of “learning”.
What do you think?

21:18 | In English | comments (1) | trackbacks (0) | edit | page top↑

The difference of the value of “University education” between Japan and other.

University Day, 1911

Wake up at 11am, going to play tennis instead of attending class from 2-5pm, go part time job 6-11pm, go drink at someone’s house all the night, and oversleep and skip the next day’s class.

I would say, this is a typical Japanese university student’s life.

I have spent 2 months in Australia for as an exchange student and really felt the difference of the value of “University education” between Japan and here.

In short, Japanese people don’t study at all at university.

I think this is because of following 2 factors.
1, The system of education
2, Company don’t care what you’ve learned at uni.

1, The system of Education

In Australia(I only know about University of Melbourne though), we can take maximum 4 subjects/semester.
On the other hand, in Japan, you can take 25 subjects/semester. And it’s normal for students to take more than 15 subjects, or even more than 20.

You may think it’s impossible to handle such a lot of subjects.
However, many people don’t spend much time on studying before exam season.
Personally, in the first semester, I took 21 subjects and could got credits on all of them, but I didn’t study at all for first 3months before exam comes. And still the GPA was not so bad (over 3.5/4).
For sure, this was not because I was super smart. Of course it depends on your major/Uni and I think especially law and engineering students study really hard, but in my faculty, it was really easy to get credit, which is not so rare case in Japan I guess.

There are not so many subjects which have weekly homework or several times’ assignments. Only a test or a assignment in the end of semester, which is not so hard.
In some subjects, you can even start studying the day before exam and will be able to get credit.

2, Company don’t care what you’ve learned at uni.

In Japan, companies don’t care what you’ve studied at uni.
Rather, they ask you what you’ve done out of university such as club activities and part-time job.
So it’s not unusual thing that the student who have studied agriculture go investment bank, or engineering students go strategic consulting company.
Some companies even don’t require you to submit your transcription.
So for most company, it doesn’t matter even if you got A for all subjects or just passed.
I saw many students who had just have fun for 4 years, graduate, and get into big firms.
So many students use time and energy on club activities, or part-time job. It’s not unusual to see students who works 20~30 hours/week and just go uni once a week.(I’m not sure if I can still say she/he is a “student” though lol)

That’s why in Japan, some people say the days in university, is the “summer vacation” of your life :P

I just wrote the difference what I felt in 2months and don’t conclude this is good or not.
I think the difference of systems has both good points and bad points.
My opinion about this system, may be written next time.

Leave some comments what you thought!

Please note: it is impossible to discuss about all of the uni students in Japan and for sure there are also students who are studying really hard.
What I wrote above is mainly based on my personal experience of my 2 years stay in Kyoto University(undergraduate). However, I guess this is not so far from the feeling what many uni students in Japan have.
21:10 | In English | comments (6) | trackbacks (0) | edit | page top↑

The place you should go before you die/1.Galapagos island


*All pictures are taken on March and April, 2012. No-photoshop :)
*This article is based on the trip on March 26th-April 2nd 2012, so information might be a bit different from the current situation.

Galapagos island is the island in Ecuador.
You can fly there from Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
In Galapagos, there are about 10 islands.
The main one is Santa Cruz Island, where many tourists first arrive and organize their tour at here.

The most attractive thing in Galapagos Island is, absolutely, variety of animals.
Following is the main animals you can see in this island.
-On ground

One of the popular one in Galapagos.
You may have seen the news that “Lonsome George” died.
There are unique kinds of turtles in each Islands, and he was the last one of theG island called “Pinta Island”.
However, as you can see on the picture, there are still many turtles in other islands.
They’re pretty big,
[Blue-foot boobie]

[Fregata magnificens]

there are 2 kinds of Iguanas in Galapagos.
-Ground Iguana

-Marine Iguana



[Sea lions]
They are cute, but there are everywhere in the town lol

-in the sea
You can swim with many kinds of fish, and animals as followings.

[Sea lions]
They’re very curious about human, so you can go very close to them, and see their dance.

Shark in Galapagos doesn’t eat human, so you can swim with them!

The Penguin in the Galapagos is the 2nd smallest one in the world.(The smallest one you can see in Melbourne)
They swim soo fast, so if you’re lucky, you can swim with them :D

There are various rays. This was 2x2meters big.

This is different from the one in ground.

Many people think the trip to Galapagos Island is pretty much expensive.
However, there is a way to enjoy this island cheaply, for example, you can even find hostel $10/night.

There are 2 types of tours, day tour and cruise tour.
Both of them you can register at main island, Santa Cruz Island.

Day tour-


You leave around 7-8am and come back around 5pm.
You’ll visit one of the island and explore the island (you’ll see turtles and nice sceneries)
Then, snokeling. Water is very clear, you’ll see bunch of fish and animals.
Price will be $50-100, including lunch and rental fee(depends on company and which island you go)

Cruise tour-This was the best in my stay.
You’ll visit several islands in 5-9days(depends on tour).
You visit one island every day, explore the island, do snokeling and have every meals on the ship.
The price is even 10times different depends on how luxury the ship is.
I heard the most expensive one is around $8000 for a week.
My tour was $600 for 4nights,5days including every meals, rental fee and of course beds.
Although the ship was not luxury, the crew and guide were really nice people, and I enjoyed a lot.
It was really nice to see plenty of animals. In addition, since there are no lights on the sea at night, you can see bunch of stars at night.Awesome.Also, you can see perfect sunrise and sunset everyday.
There were 8 other tourists in the ship and we talked a lot, and became good friends.

[Sunrise]-you'll see this every day!

Of course there are many luxury hotel, but as I mentioned above, there are also many cheap hostels. You can find hostel $10-15/night.

Anyway, the best way to travel cheaper, is not to book before coming this island.
The tour and hotel will be much cheaper if you book at Galapagos.
One of other member in cruise tour who booked in the mainland Ecuador, paid 1.5times price of mine. If you book in your country, it may become more expensive.

However, poplar ships can be easily sold out even 2-3 months before, so if you have enough money, and don’t have so much time.I don’t recommend this way.

To get there will be not easy, but definitely worth visiting.
Good Luck!



22:07 | In English | comments (1) | trackbacks (0) | edit | page top↑